Smoking is the intake of the tobacco plant by burning it and inhaling its smoke. Tobacco (al-tibgh) is a foreign word that entered the Arabic language without being changed, and it has been confirmed by Majma’ al-Lughah al-‘Arabiyah. Tobacco is a member of the nightshade family and it is used for smoking, snuff, and chew, and there is a kind that is grown for decoration. It is American in its origins and was unknown to the Arabs of old. It made its appearance in the late tenth/early eleventh century H.E. The English were the first to bring it to the lands of the Ottoman Empire, a Jew who claimed he was a physician was the first to bring it to North Africa, and then it was brought to Egypt, Arabia, Indian, and most Muslim countries.
Its names include: al-dukhan, al-tatan, and al-timbaq, but this last name is predominantly used to refer to a particular thick kind of tobacco that is not rolled but is smoked in a water pipe.
Similar to tobacco in the way it smokes and burns is al-Tibaq which is a plant that is ma’mar from the fasila al-murakibat al-anbubiya al-zuhr, and is known to the Arabs, unlike tobacco. Tibaq is an arabized word. In al-Mu’jam al-Wasit it says, “al-Tibaq is smoke (al-dukhan), it is smoked rolled or chopped up.”
The ruling of smoking revolves around harm. If the harm that the Shari’ah prohibits is realized then it is forbidden for that reason, and if it is not realized then it is disliked or permissible. This was the reason for the difference of opinion among the scholars in the past since medicine continues to discover new things and it informs us of the harms of smoking day after day. Modern medicine in our day has arrived at the conclusion that smoking is extremely harmful to ones health and it consists of a debilitating substance.
According to ‘Ubadah ibn al-Samit one of the judicial rulings of the Prophet was, “[There should be] no harm and no harming.” General and particular axioms of jurisprudence were based on this like, “Harm is to be removed,” and “Repelling harm takes precedence over promoting benefit.” According to Umm Salmah, “The Prophet forbade every intoxicant and debilitating substance.”
Based on this let it be known that the shari’ah has forbidden extensive harm, and smoking causes extensive harm to people’s health as has been ascertained by medical experts; the shari’ah forbids every debilitating substance, and tobacco, a well as all plants that are smoked debilitates people’s nerves; the shari’ah forbids wasting money, which is spending it on that which has no benefit, on that which causes harm, rather, as has been authentically reported according to the Prophet, “God dislikes for you ‘it is said,’ ‘so and so says,’ wasting money, and excessive questioning.” For this reason it is our opinion that smoking is a bad habit and is religiously forbidden, and we ask God to turn towards those who have been afflicted with it. And God is Most High and Knows best.